Tiger Woods hit with 2-stroke penalty at the Masters for illegal drop, no DQ
AUGUSTA, Ga. — Tiger Woods was hit with a two-shot penalty Saturday morning for an illegal drop that he took on the 15th hole Friday, but finds himself at the center of a rules storm and faces calls to withdraw from an event he has won four times.
The drop under question [pictured above] occurred after Woods’s approach shot to the par-5 struck the flagstick and rolled back into the water. Woods chose not to drop in what he described as the "wet" and "muddy" drop zone, which left him with two other options under the Rules of Golf:
1. Play [the] ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played; or
2. Drop a ball behind the water hazard, keeping the point at which the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped, with no limit to how far behind the water hazard the ball may be dropped.
Woods chose the first option, but admitted that he did not to drop as close as possible to the original spot.
“So I went back to where I played it from, but I went two yards further back and I took, tried to take two yards off the shot of what I felt I hit,” Woods said after his round.
The ensuing shot “worked out perfectly," Woods said.
The Masters rules committe cited a relatively new rule (brought in to deal with cases where viewers call in after the fact to report violations seen on TV) that allows the tournament to waive a penalty of disqualification in exceptional circumstances. They then released a statement that in essence placed the onus on the rules committee for not alerting Woods of his violation before he signed his scorecard. The statement says:
After meeting with the player, it was determined that he had violated Rules 26, and he was assessed a two stroke penalty. The penalty of disqualification was waived by the Committee under Rule 33 as the Committee had previously reviewed the information and made its initial determination prior to the finish of the player’s round.
Nick Faldo, a three time Masters champion and the lead analyst on CBS coverage of the event, said that Woods ought to consider withdrawing from the event today before his 1:45pm tee time. Brandel Chamblee of Golf Channel says that if Woods plays on the incident will cast a shadow on his entire career.
As of Saturday morning, Woods is at 1-under-par, 5 strokes behind leader Jason Day. He had been just three stokes back before the penalty.
The incident has been a popular topic of conversation on Twitter, among both fans and players. Many golf experts are calling for Woods to withdraw from the event.
UPDATE: Tiger Woods has responded to the incident via Twitter. Read his response below.
At hole #15, I took a drop that I thought was correct and in accordance with the rules. I was unaware at that time I had violated any rules.— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) April 13, 2013
I didn’t know I had taken an incorrect drop prior to signing my scorecard. Subsequently, I met with the Masters Committee Saturday morning..— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) April 13, 2013
and was advised they had reviewed the incident prior to the completion of my round. Their initial determination...— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) April 13, 2013
was that there was no violation, butthey had additional concerns based on my post-round interview. After discussing the situation...— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) April 13, 2013
...with them this morning, I was assessed a two-shot penalty. I understand and accept the penalty and respect the Committees’ decision.— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) April 13, 2013
(Photo: John W. McDonough /Sports Illustrated)